Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 April 2014, 14:04 GMT

Mozambique should stop deporting asylum-seekers, UN agency says

Publisher UN News Service
Publication Date 24 June 2011
Cite as UN News Service, Mozambique should stop deporting asylum-seekers, UN agency says, 24 June 2011, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4e11a0bb2.html [accessed 17 April 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

24 June 2011 –The United Nations refugee agency today called on Mozambique to stop deporting Somali and Ethiopian asylum-seekers.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokesperson Melissa Fleming told journalists that Mozambique had on Tuesday sent to Tanzania some 59 Somalis and 34 Ethiopians who had earlier arrived by boat in northern Mozambique and were being assisted by the agency.

"Most were young men but among them were a woman, four children, and three elderly men. Many were suffering medically as a result of their journey," Ms Fleming said.

"UNHCR staff who met the group were unaware that they were to be deported," she added.

"UNHCR has written to the Government of Mozambique reminding it of its obligations under the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugee and the 1969 Organization of African Unity Refugee Convention. UNHCR calls on Mozambique authorities to stop deporting asylum-seekers."

Ms. Fleming said the agency had received reports that other asylum-seekers had "suffered brutality by police and border officials" and that some had not been deported to official Tanzania border posts but instead left, stripped of clothing and belongings at deserted islands along the border.

Others had their cell phones and shoes confiscated to deter them from returning to Mozambique, according to similar reports, she said.

The refugee agency last month condemned the shooting by Mozambican police of four Somali asylum-seekers and called on authorities to ensure that those responsible are brought to justice.

The agency said that between January 2010 and this month some 7,450 Somali and Ethiopian asylum-seekers arrived at its Maratane refugee camp in Mozambique.

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